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Susan Marshall is an American vocalist, pianist, songwriter and recording artist from Memphis, TN.
She is best known for her work with Lenny Kravitz, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Tom Dowd, Cat Power, Primal Scream, North Mississippi Allstars, Mother Station, The Afghan Whigs, Lucinda Williams and Katharine McPhee.
Susan Marshall exhibited innate musical abilities during her youth and was surrounded by the musical influence of her family. Her father sang in barbershop quartets. Her grandmother was a soprano singer and pianist. Dave Meniketti of Y&T from Oakland, CA is her cousin by marriage.
Susan Marshall was born in Utah, but during primary school she lived in Eugene, Oregon, Whittier, California and later Albuquerque, New Mexico. In 1977, she became the youngest member in the Albuquerque Civic Light Opera’s production of Oklahoma. Just before high school, her family moved to Memphis, Tennessee and she attended Germantown High School, which her father and mother picked for their outstanding arts department.
In the 1980s Marshall received a Scholarship to the United States International University in San Diego, which she attended for 2 years. She then moved to New York, New York and attended a summer at Circle in the Square Theatre School.
After college, Marshall remained in New York and joined the historic Light Opera of Manhattan (LOOM), an off-broadway repertory theatre company, founded by William Mount-Burke. LOOM featured an AEA program from which Marshall received her Actor's Equity Card. Marshall remained with LOOM for about 5 years.
In 1990, Marshall returned to Memphis, TN. Upon her return, she agreed to give vocal lessons to a member of a local band and was soon after asked to join the group. The group became known as Mother Station and within two years they were signed on East West Records under the Atlantic Record label. They reached #34 on the Billboard Rock Charts with “Put The Blame On Me”. Due to difficulty with the label, including the merger of Elektra Records with East West, the group disbanded.
Prior to the Mother Station hit, Gwin Spencer and Susan Marshall were working to get a production deal with Ardent Records. There, Susan met Jeff Powell, an assistant on a Lynyrd Skynyrd album with Tom Dowd producing. Susan auditioned for Tom Dowd who approved her and was offered a touring position with Skynyrd. Marshall was recognized by other veteran producers including Jim Dickinson, which lead to a gig with Toy Caldwell. Thereafter, background vocal sessions became a regular part of her career.
After Mother Station, Marshall began her foray into songwriting and learning to play instruments. She wrote a ballad called “Back To You”, which was later cut by Reba Russell, who wanted to support Memphis and Memphis artists. Marshall began writing and co-writing with many Memphis artists. Marshall co-wrote “How The Mighty Have Fallen” along with Bill Ellis, which was given to Jim Gaines who contacted Susan about the song and later cut it with Ana Popović. Popović's next record also featured one of Marshall’s songs, “Love Me Again” co-written by Mike Carroll.
In 2005, Marshall worked with Austin Carrol, and suggested Austin audition for ABC’s “Making Of The One”. Prior to the audition they wrote “Better Off Alone”. While he was performing it, one of the judges, Kara DioGuardi (before she was on American Idol) heard him sing the song. Later, when Katherine McPhee was the American Idol Runner up, DioGuardi pitched the song to McPhee and she cut it on her debut album, certified gold by RIAA.
In 2011, Susan Marshall became the first female president of the Memphis chapter of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS).
Source: Wikipedia (The Free Encyclopedia)